Versal AI Edge Series VEK280 Evaluation Kit

This is an additional resource for the Versal AI Edge Series VEK280 Evaluation Kit and does not replace the official documentation of the https://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/vek280.html on Xilinx.com.

Table of Contents

Introduction

The VEK280 Evaluation Kit, equipped with the AMD Versal™ AI Edge VE2802 Adaptive SoC, offers AIE-ML and DSP hardware acceleration engines, along with multiple high-speed connectivity options. This kit is optimized for ML inference applications in markets such as automotive, vision, industrial, scientific, and medical.

Getting Started

This section provides the prep-work, board setup and files needed to boot and run a couple of designs on the VEK280 board. You will need to download files and applications to interface to the boards, but will need no installation or knowledge of the Xilinx tools to run these on the VEK280.

For board setup and configuration, refer to the VEK280 Board User Guide, UG1612 (Note you will need to register for the VEK120 Early Access site to access this link)

Prep Work

You will need a terminal interface such as Tera Term or PuTTY to interface to the UART to boot the VEK280 board. Please download your choice before getting started.

The next step is to download the prebuilt images from the Linux Prebuilt Images wiki page. The PetaLinux BSP will provide a pre-built image that will allow you to boot Linux and interact via a terminal to run some examples.

  1. Download the SD Image zip file for VEK280 that contains the .wic SD card image for the board platform. 

  2. Extract the archive file.

  3. It is recommended to use a tool such as Win32 Disk Imager or Balena Etcher to write the WIC image to the SD card. You can point this tool to the downloaded ZIP file and it will automatically extract and burn the compressed image.

    For more information about SD card management, please refer to the Booting PetaLinux Image on Hardware with an SD Card section of UG1144.

Board Setup

Board setup is quick and easy, the following are the instructions and diagrams for setup.

Please note that there is an SD Card slot on the VEK280 board. The SD card is for storing the boot images for the Versal Device itself. The VEK280 does not have an SD card interface for System controller boot. System Controller firmware can be loaded into the eMMC. The VEK280 board comes with a pre-programmed System Controller image. Refer to the Versal System Controller section of https://xilinx-wiki.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/A/pages/2273738753 for information on how to use the System controller BEAM tool and steps to upgrade the system controller image if necessary.

  1. Connect the 12V power Supply to the VEK280 board.

  2. Ensure that the System Controller firmware flashed properly on the eMMC.

  3. Set the Versal Boot mode switch (SW1) to SD boot mode as shown in the below figure.

    SW1- Versal Boot Mode
  4. The SW1 DIP Switch should be set to ON, OFF, OFF, OFF.

  5. Connect a USB Type A to USB Type-C cable between your PC and the VEK280 board.
    The VEK280 comes with a USB-C connector for JTAG+UARTs

  6. Three UART ports should be visible in Device Manager:

Comm Port#

Function

Comm Port#

Function

Com Port 0

Versal UART0

Com Port 1

Versal UART1 via PL pins

Com Port 2

System Controller UART

 

Running a design

Use the instructions below to run the design that you have downloaded via the PetaLinux BSP for the VEK280 board, once you have prepared the SD card.

  1. Have the VersalUART0 terminal emulator tab connected.

  2. Configure your Terminal tab baudrate to 115200, 1, None

  3. Turn ON power switch SW13.

  4. On the Versal UART0 terminal, you should see the Versal device booting from the micro SD card starting with the message “Xilinx Versal Platform Loader and Manager”. After a second you will the see the U-Boot starting as shown below, followed by kernel boot messages

    Finally, after the Linux boot is completed, you will see the Linux prompt. Enter the user name petalinux and set the password.

PetaLinux Board Support Packages (BSP)

PetaLinux Board Support Packages (BSP) include pre built images, a design, and all of the necessary instructions to rebuild the pre-built images from scratch. With PetaLinux, developers can have their Xilinx-based hardware booted and running within about 5 minutes of installation; ready for application, library and driver development. The base design that is included can be used as a starting point for hardware developers while the instructions on how to rebuild the Linux image can be used as a starting point by the embedded software engineer to create a custom Linux image. The PetaLinux BSP can be downloaded from the Linux Prebuilt Images wiki page.

Versal Example Designs

MRMAC Example Design

This section describes the steps to create the example design for MRMAC targeting VEK280.

The MRMAC Design Document explains the steps to create the MRMAC design and run the Software application in Vitis, after configuring the core with 4x10G Wide mode, MAC+PCS, and GTYP at 322.265625 MHz

Example Design and MRMAC Vitis SW have the example MRMAC design and the Software test application respectively. 

Versal System Controller

The Board evaluation and management (BEAM) tool is the main menu of the System Controller. It primarily serves as a launcher for running the board interface test (BIT) and to set/change/read board parameters such as clocks, FMC, voltages, etc. for running Targeted Reference Designs (TRDs) or developing custom applications. The BEAM tool aims to enhance the out-of-the-box experience for Versal evaluation board users through an easy-to-use web-based UI.

The BEAM tool is currently in OPEN BETA, please follow the instructions provided in the link below to proceed with the tool.

Versal System Controller and BEAM Tool - Setup and Launch instruction

Xilinx Tools

The Xilinx tools provide all required tool chains to compile and link applications for Xilinx supported platforms, create and configure hardware designs, and create bitstreams.

https://www.xilinx.com/support/download.html

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